Third Down: Patriots Blank Salem for Their Third Win of 2011

The Revere High football team turned in its best all around effort of the season to bring home a 14-0 victory at Salem Friday evening.

Coach Lou Cicatelli’s Patriots took control of the contest from the outset, marching 70 yards in eight plays on their first possession to grab an early 7-0 lead. Drew Lauria punched the ball in from the three yard line for the TD and Jeff Simbert kicked the point after.  Captain Drew made one of the big plays on the drive when he hauled in a pass from quarterback Joe Ritchie for a nice gain. Sophomore tailback Tom Portrait also contributed to the scoring drive with a 30 yard pickup on a third and seven play.

Salem seemed poised to strike back quickly with a return of the ensuing kickoff to the Patriot 40, but the Revere D served notice that it would be in control of the game, stopping Salem on fourth and two.

Ritchie and Company went right back to work and promptly thrust 68 yards downfield to make it 14-0 early in the second quarter. Lauria once again got the call for the final yardage, bursting into the endzone from two yards out. Simbert similarly kicked the PAT. Portrait accounted for the big play of the drive, a 40 yard jaunt on a counter play. The backfield combo of Lauria and Portrait racked up over 200 yards rushing on the night, with Portrait the high man with 130.

The contest settled into a defensive struggle from thereon. Both offenses moved the ball deep into enemy territory on occasion, but were unable to dent their opponents’ goal line. The Revere D came up especially big late in the third period when Salem reached the Revere 15 and threatened to narrow the margin to a one score contest.

However, Patriot senior linebacker Frank Melito picked off a Salem aerial at the Revere 10 to stifle the Salem scoring opportunity.

“Frank’s interception really seemed to be a turning point,” said Cicatelli. “It was their best drive of the game and they could have gotten back into the game if they had scored. But Frank made a big play and it definitely deflated them.”

The coach had high words of praise for his entire defensive unit, noting that Melito and middle linebacker and captain Rob Sasso each had seven tackles. Ritchie, playing both ways at QB and DB, also had a big hand in shutting down the Salem offense, while defensive lineman Jim Domenici, who also contributed seven tackles, was in the Salem backfield seemingly all night chasing the Salem quarterback.

“Jimmy just keeps going from the opening kickoff,” lauded Cicatelli. “He never stops.”

The head coach also thanked his defensive coordinator, Vin Gregorio, and offensive coordinator, Jose Escobar, for their fine work. “Both Vin and Jose have done a great job this season and that was evident against Salem,” noted Cicatelli.

The Patriots stay on the road when they travel to Cambridge Memorial Field Friday evening for a contest against their former Greater Boston League rival.

“We have a chance to go 4-1 before we open our Northeastern Conference schedule,” said Cicatelli. “That would be the first time a Revere football team has opened 4-1 in a while, so that is a goal we definitely will be shooting for.”

Kick off time under the lights in Cambridge is 7:00.

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